Sierra Club: Kudos to CPS Energy for emissions reductions

The Sierra Club lauded CPS Energy today for the utility’s dramatic drop in air emissions in 2012.

Those reductions include:

  • nitrogen oxide (NOx) by 23 percent
  • sulfur dioxide (SO2) by 55 percent
  • total suspended particulates (TSP) by 19 percent
  • carbon dioxide (CO2) by 9 percent

“We congratulate CPS Energy on a job well-done,” said Al Armendariz, senior campaign representative of the Sierra Club’s national Beyond Coal Campaign.

“Phasing out the old Deely plant and making significant investments in solar power and energy efficiency is good planning, good for our economy, and good for San Antonio’s ratepayers,” he continued. “The reductions in carbon pollution at CPS Energy have set the benchmark for Texas utilities.”

Sierra Club’s kudos comes just one day before the “Keeping it Clean: Our Air, Our Health” forum to be held at Rackspace headquarters to raise awareness of air quality concerns as the Alamo City edges closer to EPA “non-attainment” with increased ground level ozone levels — a.k.a. smog.

The reductions occurred for a couple of reasons: CPS Energy began burning ultra-low sulfur coal at its two coal plants last year, which helped drive down emissions. The plants also ran fewer hours, as low natural gas prices reduced demand for coal power.

The JT Deely plant also operated for its first full year with selective catalytic reduction technology, which reduces NOx emissions.

Deely is scheduled to cease operations in 2018, 15 years ahead of schedule, further reducing the utility’s overall emissions. The power will be replaced by solar and power from CPS Energy’s recently-acquired combined-cycle natural gas plant.

CPS Energy has long been committed to emissions reductions, even as its generation fleet has nearly quadrupled since 1980 to accommodate the needs of one of the fastest growing cities in the nation.

  • CPS Energy has lowered its NOx emissions by 70 percent since 1997
  • Carbon dioxide emissions have decreased by roughly 700 pounds per net megawatt hour of generation since 1980
  • Particulate matter has decreased 68 percent since 2006

Read the full text of the Sierra Club announcement here.

Tracy Idell Hamilton

Tracy Idell Hamilton manages CPS Energy's blog, among other duties. A former energy reporter for the San Antonio Express-News, Hamilton joined CPS Energy in September 2012.

7 thoughts on “Sierra Club: Kudos to CPS Energy for emissions reductions

  • August 21, 2013 at 2:41 pm
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    Kudos? Kudos? CPS is one of the biggest polluters in Texas, and will not convert their polluting plants to clean Texas natural gas

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    • August 21, 2013 at 7:44 pm
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      SA1, CPS Energy actually has one of the cleanest generation fleets in TX and the nation, which is the reason the Sierra Club recently praised us.

      When comparing all the coal units in Texas, JT Deely Units 1 & 2 rank #4 and #8 for lowest tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx) – gases like those that come from vehicle tailpipes – emitted out of the 42 units that reported NOx emissions in 2012.

      Spruce Unit 1 ranked among the top 6 best reporting units in Texas for sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions on a pounds per million basis, with Spruce 2 coming in as number one.

      Nationally in 2012, CPS Energy coal plants rank among the best in the country for combined NOx and SO2 rates. Both Deely units place in the top 42% while Spruce Unit 1 ranks in the top 11%. Combined, CPS Energy units rank within the top 25% with less than 0.34 pounds of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide emitted per million Btu (MMBtu). The average U.S. coal unit emits 0.975 pounds per MMBtu. Spruce Unit 2 ranks number one in the nation with the lowest combined NOx and SO2 rate when compared to almost 1,000 units.

      Thanks for giving us an opportunity to brag about our plant swag 🙂

      Reply
      • August 24, 2013 at 10:55 pm
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        With the revenue from the rate increase perhaps CPS could close the Deely plant down by 2015 instead of 2018.

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    • August 29, 2013 at 11:16 am
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      What kind of Blog is this that CPS only has comments patting themselves on the back instead of real criticisms of the terrible job they have doing doing in the last several months in billing customers?! I received six (6) bills in one month alone! All were incorrect. Fix that before you (CPS) beg for more money to pad the profits. It’s a shame that consumers have to be on the wrong side of this type of monopoly without much recourse.

      Reply
      • August 29, 2013 at 1:38 pm
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        hi Billpayer,

        We try to do both: pat ourselves on the back when we do something good for the community, and let people know we made a mistake, how we fixed it and what measures were put in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I’m sorry you got caught up in the billing mess. If it’s not fixed, let me know and I’ll get someone to help.

        take care,
        t

        Reply
  • August 24, 2013 at 10:57 pm
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    With the revenue from the rate increase perhaps CPS could close the Deely plant down by 2015 instead of 2018.

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    • August 29, 2013 at 1:40 pm
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      Closing Deely even earlier might be an option, but the rate increase is going mainly to capital projects and infrastructure improvements. However, you will be glad to know that Deely is running much less than it used to, now that we own a natural gas plant — one reason emissions have gone down so much.

      Thanks for reading,
      t

      Reply

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